This presentation has had many evolutions – A New Dimension in Learning – to No Avatar Left Behind – to Games Virtual Worlds and Learning until one of my students made this statement – and I thought to myself this really sums it up! from when I first started working with kids and virtual worlds in 2005- and it has been a pretty remarkable journey and then 2 years ago a group of k-12 educators decided to start taking a hard look at games for Education – and Id like to share some of the remarkable things that that investigation has yielded
How many of you play games? Video games? –Well Im Relatively new to video games – but certainly not new to play
what I’d like you to do is to Imagine a time when, instead of reading about city planning in geography textbooks, children play SimCity™. XX When, instead of sitting with textbooks and tapes, students learning to speak Spanish participate in online games with players in Spain. XXX When, instead of listening to descriptions of professional practice, future doctors, architects and social workers are able to engage in complex simulations of real life tasks. XXX When, instead of standardized tests or even degrees a learner can claim that having reached the ‘boss’ level of a computer game is evidence enough of their mastery in applying theory and understanding practice. ===================================== from Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, President of UNICEF UK as a foreward to the report entitled “Unlimited learning-Computer and video games in the learning landscape” ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) ====================================================== lspa.com/.../unlimitedlearningtheroleofcomputerandvideogamesint_344.pdf
Well the good news is that In the last few years education has finally noticed gaming and virtual worlds and -- but this “gaming attention” has been characterized by two entirely different perspectives: some see a ‘glass half-full’, where others see a ‘glass half-empty’. .
In the ‘glass half-full’ camp are observers who can see that children whose attentions wandered elsewhere at school, were unexpectedly very, very focused. For this camp, a journey began in what has become something of a quest for the Holy Grail. and In this case, the Grail was – “ learning software that was as seductive and engaging as commercial computer games.” that our students play outside of school - The ‘glass half-full’ perspective would acknowledge that the skills and capabilities of the new creative economy were different from those needed in the last century. Learning would need to move on, and the collaboration and problem-solving inherent to good games were exactly the strategies required for the emerging workplace or more importantly emerging society. This camp is still very hard at work and lucky for us some of them are here at this conference
But at the same time, the ‘glass half-empty’ camp are furrowing their brows. Where the other camp sees concentration, they see addiction; where there is intense competition, they see social dysfunction and isolation; where there is delight they see distraction Much of this is due to media hype – media who all too often choose to take a cursory glance at best, distort and exploit who see only guns and demons and never get beyond --- into the substance of a game—and the learning within But there are also huge barriers in acceptance from some very practical standpoints--
Often, it is teachers who have difficulty in identifying the relevance of a particular game to some component of the mandatory or state curriculum, they aren’t given the time to familiarize themselves with the game much less have professional development and of course--the difficulty in persuading other school stakeholders as to the potential/actual educational benefits of computer games. “Most of us begin a discussion of games with some discomfort and with an incomplete experience base. It is hard to understand something without direct experience, yet many approach games in education that way. Most educators neither play nor develop games. So we have to ask ourselves- How much skepticism about the educational value of games is tied to a lack of experience with them? If we had the same experience base as a 15-year-old game enthusiast, would we view games differently? This brings us to the basic premise of my talk today: XXX ======================================= Diane Oblinger, Educause Quarterly http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/GamesandLearning/157406
The time has come for games to be reintegrated with education, ending a longstanding rift between work and play. “
As much as there is an indisputable body of research supporting the role of play in learning - it seems Education still maintains the ideas of work and of play as distinctly polarized And therefore play and learning are at odds in the basic mindset of many educational stakeholders So lets talk about play---- people love to play. Why because it’s FUN! XX
We’ve all seen the happiness and intense concentration in the face of a child at play--. Is this child learning? Experimenting? (Surface tension?) Density? Not yet – just fun for now but is there value? XX
How about the pure ecstasy of your dogs racing across a beach. This is the joy of play. When in the play-sate we are engaged, we are focused, Dr. Stuart Brown is the founder of the National Institute for Play. Dr. Brown&apos;s research shows play is not just joyful and energizing -- it&apos;s deeply involved with human development and intelligence. He explains the science behind play and the evidence to support it: &quot;The evidence is broad. It starts objectively by watching animals at play and seeing what it does for them -- it improves their performance, immune system, their capacity to remember things. And if you follow that through to a human system, those same benefits apply to us -- particularly in fertile imagination, in a sense of optimism, in capacity to persevere and to do things that you enjoy --these are all by-products of play. And if you then hook someone up to a brain imaging machine you&apos;ll find out that when they&apos;re at play, the brain lights up more from that than virtually anything else they can do.&quot; But, most important, it’s fun. What enables us to innovate, problem-solve, and be happy, smart, resilient human beings? Our ability to PLAY.
But what seems to happen for many --is that As we become adults, taking time to play feels like a guilty pleasure—a distraction from “real” work and life. But play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. In fact, Dr. Brown’s research points to our ability to play throughout life as the single most important factor in determining our success and happiness. we humans share a basic need for play in order to keep our brains flexible enough to handle the challenges and dangers in our environments. Without the presence of healthy play, we lose the ability to feel empathy, light heartedness, a sense of community... even the courage to try new things.
So let’s hammer it down even more and look specifically at Video games or dare I say - The Science of Video Game Play Playing video games is good for your brain! Emerging research in the area of neuroscience demonstrates that all sorts of play — and digital play especially, can have deep and lasting positive effects on the brain. Some of the more interesting findings are : * Playing problem-solving video games increases the activation of the prefrontal cortex of the brain, leading to improved thinking skills and analytic abilities. * Playing video-game based working-memory games results in structural brain changes that improve memory over time. * Playing Tetris can thicken the cortex of the brain. * Video games can improve visual attention. * Digital media and video games can improve kids&apos; ability to pay attention and focus on tasks. beyond the problem solving inherent to the game play: Video Games require many Thinking Skills Focus, Flexibility, Organization, Planning, Self-Awareness, Self-Control, Time Management, and Working Memory. =================================== http://www.learningworksforkids.com/m2/m2_preview/m2pre_ts_index.html
How do video games accomplish this? Marc Prensky created a list for us—and as I mention each – think about what you know about good learning - Games are a form of fun. That gives us enjoyment and pleasure. Games are form of play. That gives us intense and passionate involvement. Games have rules. That gives us structure. Games have goals. That gives us motivation. Games are interactive. That gives us doing. Games have outcomes and feedback. That gives us learning. Games are adaptive. That gives us flow. Games have win states. That gives us ego gratification. Games have conflict/competition/challenge/opposition. That gives us adrenaline. Games have problem solving. That sparks our creativity. Games have interaction. That gives us social groups. Games have representation and story. That gives us emotion. Marc Prensky: www.marcprensky.com/.../Prensky%20- %20Why%20Games%20Engage%20Us.pdf
This is one of the leading experts in research surrounding games and learning James Paul Gee –He&apos;s currently at Arizona State University, and is the author of the book that just put it all together for me What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Are Video Games Good for Learning? Gee says yes – in fact he’s spent years of researching just that and he’s put forth a number of really thoughtful questions and I think these questions create the prefect lens for educators exploring how and why to use games in their teaching practice-- Basically Gee examines : What are the features that make a video game a good game? And How can these features relate to effective learning? He focuses on three main ideas -
1.First he examines Motivation Watch some kids play- if you don’t have your own at home or in your extended family – borrow some – go down to your public library if they have a gaming night – (and if they don’t ask why not) Invite your students to bring their games into school—but watch them play It is clear to see how profoundly motivating video games are for players. Kids will focus intently on game play for hours at a time, solving complex problems all along the way. This is “hard fun”! Where is this focus in our classrooms? In an ‘attentional economy’, where diverse products and messages, not to mention school subjects, compete for people’s limited attention, video games can draw our deep attention. It is important that research be directed to understanding the sources of this motivation, if it is to provide a foundation for learning.
Next Gee looks at The role of failure He explains that In good games, the price of failure is lowered. When players fail, they can, for example, start again at their last saved game. Furthermore, failure – for example, failure to kill a boss – is often seen as a way to learn the underlying patterns in the games and eventually to win. These features of failure in games allow players to take risks and try out hypotheses that might be too costly in places such as classrooms where the cost of failure is higher and where mistakes are mostly viewed as casualties.
And finally Gee explores the concepts of Competition and collaboration a great many gamers, including young ones, enjoy competition with other players in games, either one-on-one or team-based. And isn’t it fascinating that many young gamers see competition as pleasurable and motivating in video games, but not in school…..XXX What seems evident is that competition in video games is seen by gamers as social and is often organized in ways that allow people to compete with people at their own level or as part and parcel of a social relationship that is as much about game-play and strategizing as it is about winning and losing. Gamers place a high value on collaborative play, two people playing Halo together to beat the game or the “RAID GROUP” collaboration in massive multiplayer games like World of WarCraft. Gee concludes that collaboration and competition often seem to be closely related and integrated in gaming, whereas that is not usually the case in school.
and if your not thinking about it yet –I know you will get around to it - or you will be asked to think about –what about ASSESSMENT- how does one assess the learning that happens in game play? Again it was Jim Gee who clarified what I was was seeing in my own game play – as well as when I played with my students—he says: “All a video game is,--- is problem solving. If you think about it, in a way --a video game is just an assessment. All you do is get assessed every moment as you try to solve problems, and if you don&apos;t solve it, the game says &quot;You&apos;ve failed&quot; and &quot;Try again,&quot; and then you solve it and you defeat a boss, which is a test, and you pass the test. -THE TEST --that is probably the most painful, and ludicrous part of schooling - in a video game is FUN because it&apos;s handled differently. And here’s how--- Games don&apos;t separate learning from assessment. They don&apos;t say &quot;Learn some stuff, and then later we&apos;ll take a test.&quot; They&apos;re giving you feedback all the time about the learning curve that you&apos;re on. So, they&apos;re not the only solution to this problem by any means, but they&apos;re a part of the solution of getting kids in school to learn not just knowledge as facts, but knowledge as something you produce; and in the modern world you produce it collaboratively.” ==================================== http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2009/03/gee-whiz.html presented at the Curriculum Corporation 13th National Conference, Adelaide, August 2006
So let’s come full circle now and think about our role as teachers---What does all this mean to us as educators? There is general consensus that education is in trouble, that skill and drill - no child left behind, diminished recess, elimination of the arts programs blah blahblah are all leaving many students AND many teachers dissatisfied and not having much fun. But All of the ranting and raving about education being broken is not going to fix it--however, the fact that you teachers are sitting here today demonstrates that you have a desire to enact change- and the most important change you can make is in your own practice, in your own classroom….with your own students- right away—by reintroducing playfulness and fun into your teaching – and beginning that re-introductin by using games is a no brainer@ Now I know from my own experience that for many of you “willingness” is not the issue - if someone would just show you how—how to make this shift – more importantly – how to make this shift and still cover that prescribed curriculum - Where’s the manual?? - where’s the examples- show me the lesson plans - direct me to the resources! which games will work? how do I get started??
Even if you’re new to using games for education you are NOT NEW to kids and So here is your mission – Start to explore games – revisit games you already know and play some new ones- play board games- video games –card games There are games that are already designed to address your content area- but more importantly – there a re conmmercial off the shelf games that are chocked FULL of constructivist learning -
But remember that In order to fully understand the potential of games in education , we need to think creatively about what education and gaming might look like in the future. I think that in order to be successful and to make real headway we need to be cognizant of the big picture too We need to acknowledge that changes to assessment techniques and to the curriculum might be required. We need to acknowledge that the games industry has to develop its reputation beyond its sometimes perceived obsession with first-person-shooters and explore the wider and more complex realms of human activity. We need to acknowledge that new ways of working and whole new forms of collaboration might be required between teachers and gaming communities Finally, we need to work closely with learners and games players, and involve them in the conversation about how best to develop compelling new learning resources.
Summarize with a few tips -- 1.Teachers==== Play the games. To be effective at integrating digital games into learning, teachers just have to spend time playing games themselves. You need to be familiar with what&apos;s in a game and how it works before you can use it with students. Using games in the classroom is not a passive activity. Students need teachers to help draw out the connections between what&apos;s going on in the game and the desired learning outcomes. 2. Administrators ---Make time for staff development. having a dedicated time and space for talking about game-based instruction helps move the process forward. Instead aof the next “faculty meeting” have a game meeting – and PLAY 4. INCLUDE YOUR students. Many are expert gamers and asking them to share their knowledge can be engaging and empowering. 5. Don&apos;t be afraid. For game-based instruction to be successful, teachers have to feel comfortable making mistakes..
Remember Play is a catalyst for learning at any age. The science of play is validating what wise educators have long been practicing and advocating. When students have fun at learning, they continue to pursue it for its own sake. It is how nature assured us how to learn about the world and our places in it. A transformation in education is possible. If we apply the understanding from the science of play - and provide our teachers the tools - the students will respond; they are primed for learning through play. Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic says “Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society—our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.”
Finally let’s get it out in the open – the 800 pound gorilla in the room – violence!
1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence. According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It&apos;s true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester. 2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression. Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, &quot;media effects.&quot; This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That&apos;s why the vague term &quot;links&quot; is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer.
1. The availability of video games has led to an epidemic of youth violence. According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It&apos;s true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General&apos;s report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. Check out that graph . It doesn&apos;t take a genius to conclude that violent crime is at the lowest it has been in a good thirty years. For effect, I&apos;ve also marked the release of the Playstation console, the first Grand Theft Auto game, the PS2 console, and the infamous Grand Theft Auto 3. Wow, look at those surges in violence! Believe it or not, I got that graph - and all the others in this piece - directly from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester. - directly from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics.
Talking with Henry --
In his book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Renewal of American Community, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). sociologist Robert Putnam suggests that many members of the post-World War II generation discovered civic engagement at the local bowling alley. People gathered regularly at bowling alleys to play together, to talk about their community, to form social ties, and to identify common interests. Putnam blamed television for eroding these strong social ties, encouraging people to spend more time isolated in their homes and less time participating in shared activities. So, what happens when people are forming guilds in World of Warcraft or building fan communities in Second Life, …
SO let me tell you about MY GUILD: Cognitive Dissonance (Sisters of Elune, Alliance) was chartered in December 2007 as a group of educators exploring MMORPGs and their relationship to education. It has grown to a guild of colleagues and friends exploring the platform and experiencing the implications and applications to teaching and learning while having fun! Cognitive Dissonance is also an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. It became our name in honor of the conflict in thought between traditional learning structures and the ubiquitous use of technology in education. General themes of collective learning within the guild have emerged over time. Learning to game together, learning about gaming together, and in general learning from one another constitute the general domains of scholarship investigated by the group. We work to introduce new members to the game through meetings, resources, and events, and support one another from n00b to raiding at 80 through our guild structure and server-based guild alliances. Remembering the concept of &quot;play&quot; being an integral part of learning, we have established an arena to recall it for ourselves and include it within our teaching. A MMORPG guild has become for us an extension of our personal learning networks. We are educators... who play.
One of the strengths of communities in MMORPGs is their &quot;fundamental predisposition to collaborate,” John Lester formerly known as Pathfinder Linden, is quoted as saying &quot;With teachers, you have this built-in culture of collaboration,” &quot;It&apos;s in their DNA; they succeed by working with other people on projects and learning from them and leveraging each other&apos;s work. It&apos;s not surprising that WoW is proving to be such a useful platform for professional development in our educator guild. * A very real sense of community * A source of creative ideas * A means to get different perspectives on a problem that might otherwise go unseen * you can benefit from the knowledge of many people and tap information instantly * A way of reducing risk when others have experienced what you are about to do and inform you of the hazards * An extension of your own intelligence * A reference point for expectations (when you do things alone it’s so very easy to lose yourself but when you can see your efforts and achievements relative to other people it grounds you and you usually see that your results are not half as bad as you would like to make out!) * A means of gaining insight through clever questioning * A source of support to tide you through the rough patches (Nick Pagan: http://tinyurl.com/cmq26r)
For education in the 21st century, the glass is neither half-full nor half-empty;
Returning to Professor Stephen Heppel But for the for the first time, it is simply overflowing with opportunity.
I'm Not Good at Math, But My Avatar Is!
The Game Plan
How Games Teach
•Expanding Circle of
•No Right Answer
•Working Within the Rules
•Language, Signs, and